for Alexandra Terhoff
History and Performance Notes
“Suspicion” was commissioned by Alexandra Terhoff of Dortmund, Germany, for two of her recorder ensembles, Tibia Antiqua and Flauto Curioso.
Performance notes: The structure of this short piece consists of three sections, delineated by double barlines: an Exposition that opens aggressively with a recurring unison motif and introduces the main melody; a Development that dissects and examines the previously stated material; and finally a Recap with coda. The music is intended to be energizing, accessible for intermediate players, and most importantly FUN for both the players and audience. Larger ensembles should add extra players from the lowest parts possible upward, keeping only one Sopranino.
Throughout the piece, threads of staccato eighth-notes infuse the music with anxiety; play these passages impatiently, with super-light tonguing. The Alto line further creates edgy anticipation at measures 11 and 83, as it suddenly emerges alone and suspends weightlessly above the silence before dropping back into the action. The driving rhythmic sections should be played with purpose, taking care not to drag the tempo. Observe the short and long markings, to give energy and direction to the foundation, which will in turn propel the upper melodies forward.
The Exposition and Recap conclude with 3+3+2 groupings, outlined with slurs in the eighth-notes and punctuated by “hit points” . Strong articulations on the first note of each slurred group will clarify the subdivisions. In the Development beginning at measure 29, the main theme alternately undergoes fragmentation, stretchy rhythmic distortion, and finally replacement with a new theme floating in the highest parts. The collective mood brightens at measure 44, which begins a brief conference of solo statements in the upper parts answered by chromatic gestures in the basses. This little chat ends with a series of “bell-tone” arpeggios that run downward through the whole ensemble. A steady increase in tension and suspense from measure 65 leads to a climactic moment at measure 72, before the sudden quiet of the Recap at measure 73.
As in all my music, tasteful ornamentation is welcome and encouraged.